Generosity: The Lucky Helping Those Less Lucky Than Them

Looking back at our year of profiles of some of the world's most generous people, the common thread is how lucky everyone felt at their success, and how much they felt obliged to help those who had less luck -- because that easily could be any of us.

This fall, I spoke at TedxSMU on lessons learned in our work with generous individuals. And for the past year, we've celebrated and investigated bold generosity from social media mavens, designers, Wall Street executives, marketers and tech entrepreneurs through our Generosity Series. Inspiring examples of giving come from all walks of life.

So we like all the chatter about giving this week surrounding #GivingTuesday and the holidays. At my company, Catchafire, we're lucky -- giving is a part of our daily lexicon. It's what we do: we empower professionals to donate their time and talent to causes about which they are passionate.

As for all the people we've profiled in this series, what ties them all together is that they share is a common and unmistakable trait: they truly believe that who they are and what they have is due in large part to luck.


And by luck, I mean the hand they were dealt at birth. The parents they were born to, their country of birth, their family's socioeconomic status, their race and gender, their health.

Paul English, co-founder of Kayak, shared that giving back was a form of payback to that luck. "It seems crazy that those of us with luck think that people without luck are different than us," English says. "They happened to be born in a different place or circumstances but they're the same."